Going With The Slow Flow

Monday, October 2, 2017 - by TVA Newsroom

From a meteorological perspective, late August and early September were scary, with the whirling specters of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma threatening the southeastern seaboard of the U.S. Indeed, when they came ashore, the damage they caused was massive.

The land-locked Tennessee Valley was never in danger of the kind of intensity that much of Texas and Louisiana saw, of course, but was certainly susceptible to follow-on tropical rains, which had the River Forecasting Center hedging its bets and dropping water levels. “We lowered much of the main river ahead of those storms so that we had ourselves in a good position if we were going to get the kind of torrential rainfall that’s been associated with other hurricanes,” said James Everett, River Forecast Center Operations support manager. “As it turned out, we got fortunate and flooding along the Tennessee River was a non-issue.”

In the weeks since, the weather has been dry, with rainfall at only 15-20 percent of normal levels—and the outlook for October is looking dry, too.

Now, TVA is releasing water from the tributary lakes into the main stem river system slowly and steadily to meet not only winter flood guide targets, but to ensure a host of other benefits are provided, including water quality and electric generation. “Another thing we’re working hard on right now is coordinating water levels to maintain minimum depths for navigation,” Mr. Everett said. “We have to consider the Tennessee River, but also conditions on the Ohio and Mississippi, which do have a big impact on our coal plants and barge movements in the Tennessee and Cumberland valleys. We need to make sure barges can get through the entire inland waterway system with minimal problems.”

Water temperature is an issue now—whereas a cool snap in August was favorable for operations, now flows must be sufficient to keep river temps under control at nuclear and fossil plants. So, too, are dissolved oxygen levels and water quality under careful observation. “We are always maintaining our minimum flows to support aquatic life,” said Mr. Everett.

Slow and steady is the name of the game, according to Mr. Everett, “We’re running a marathon now, not a sprint. We want to spread the drawdown out.”

Recreation is still top of mind for the River Forecast Center. ‘We’re still doing recreation releases; we’ll continue them for the Ocoee into October,” he says. “We just accommodated a large Iron Man event in Chattanooga, and we receive flow requests for bass tournaments and we try to work with them if the weather is favorable—we take them on a case-by-case basis.”

The moral of this story? Appreciate the high water quality and safety TVA’s trusted river management system affords you. And recreation season is still on: Get out there on the water and play amidst the autumn color!



Tennessee Fish And Wildlife Commission's 1st 2018 Meeting To Be Held In Nashville

The Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission will hold its first meeting of 2018 on Jan. 18-19 (Thursday-Friday) at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Ray Bell Region II Building.   Committee meetings begin at 1 p.m., Jan. 18. The formal commission meeting starts the following day at 9 a.m. TWRA Waterfowl Program Coordinator Jamie Feddersen will preview the waterfowl ... (click for more)

TWRA Requesting Public Input For 2018-19 Hunting Regulations

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is soliciting comments for its 2018-19 hunting seasons’ regulations. This is an opportunity for the public to provide ideas and share concerns about hunting regulations with TWRA staff. The comment period will be open through Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Public comments will be considered by TWRA staff and may be presented as proposals for ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Under Winter Weather Advisory With Snow On The Way; Most Schools To Close

Chattanooga is under a Winter Weather Advisory for Tuesday with snow expected. Hamilton County Schools will be closed Tuesday "due to the significant threat of snow in the area during the school day." All school age childcare will also be closed. All central office staff should report at the normal time. UTC, Chattanooga State, and Chattanooga College will ... (click for more)

Man Who Led Police On Wild Chase On Jan. 12 Is Apprehended At Ooltewah

A man who led police on a wild chase on Jan. 12 has been apprehended in Ooltewah. Kenny Lynn McCulloch, 30, of 8347 Wild Fig Lane, Ooltewah, faces a slew of charges. In the Jan. 12 incident, a deputy saw a blue older-model Dodge pickup truck avoid the intersection of Bonny Oaks Drive and Lee Highway by going through the Mapco parking lot. The deputy got behind the vehicle, ... (click for more)

Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you, Dr. King for stepping-out.  Thank you for your lasting voice to what it's all about. Thank you, Dr. King for  stepping up and also showing-up, ...when decisions were being made and  your refusal  to shut-up.  We find your fingerprints on both directions and toward progress.  your modeling, mentoring,  and reactions helps ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vulgar Trump & More

Nothing rankles me more than seeing obscenities and vulgarity that appears in today’s liberal media, not to dare mention our public forum. Understand, I will use “damn” when no other word will fit as well. I’ll use “hell” as an exclamation point sometimes and I also may quote an aggressor in a story where he threatens to whip another’s “ass.” But our President reached an all-time ... (click for more)